11 High Protein Foods
Protein is an essential macronutrient crucial for our bodies. It's vital for growth and repair, hormone production, immune function, and maintaining lean muscle mass.
So if you're looking for ways to up your protein intake, consider incorporating the following high-protein foods into your diet:
1. Lean Meats:
Lean meats like chicken, turkey, and lean cuts of pork and beef are excellent sources of protein. For example, a 3-ounce serving of chicken breast contains about 26 grams of protein. These meats are also rich in essential vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins, iron, and zinc.
Seafood, including fish and shellfish, is another excellent source of protein. Tuna, salmon, and halibut are particularly high in protein, with a 3-ounce serving providing around 22 grams. Additionally, fish like salmon are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which support heart health.
Eggs are a versatile source of high-quality protein, with one large egg providing about 6 grams. Eggs also contain all nine essential amino acids, making them a 'complete' protein source. Plus, they're rich in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B12 and selenium.
4. Dairy Products:
Dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt are also high in protein. For instance, one cup of low-fat milk contains about 8 grams of protein, and a single cup of low-fat Greek yogurt can provide up to 23 grams. Dairy products also contain other important nutrients, including calcium and vitamin D.
For those following a vegetarian or vegan diet, legumes such as beans, lentils, chickpeas, and peas are high-protein options. For example, one cup of cooked lentils provides about 18 grams of protein. Legumes are also packed with dietary fiber, iron, and potassium.
6. Nuts and Seeds:
Nuts and seeds, including almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, and flaxseeds, are protein-rich. A one-ounce serving of almonds provides about 6 grams of protein. These foods are also rich in heart-healthy fats and dietary fiber.
7. Soy Products:
Soy products like tofu, tempeh, and edamame are excellent protein sources for plant-based diets. A half-cup serving of tofu contains about 10 grams of protein, and a similar portion of tempeh provides around 15 grams. Soy products are also complete proteins.
8. Quinoa and Other Whole Grains:
Whole grains like quinoa, buckwheat, and spelt not only provide a good amount of protein but are also packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Quinoa is unique among grains for being a complete protein, with one cup of cooked quinoa offering about 8 grams of protein.
9. Protein-rich Vegetables:
While vegetables are not typically known for being high in protein, certain ones like spinach, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts do contain decent amounts. For instance, one cup of cooked spinach has about 5 grams of protein.
10. Lean Game Meats:
Game meats such as bison, venison, and elk are lean and high in protein, with a 3-ounce serving offering between 20-25 grams. These meats are also lower in fat compared to traditional meats
11. Protein Powders:
Protein powders come from various sources and are often used in shakes, smoothies, and even baked goods to increase protein intake. They are particularly popular among athletes and those looking to build muscle mass. Protein powders can be found from whey, hemp, pea, soy and other sources.